Milenge District Commissioner Allan Mutale has expressed concern over the shortage of mattresses in boarding schools in the area such as Milenge Secondary School.
Mr Mutale described as a crisis the current situation where over 200 pupils are sharing 109 mattresses at the learning institution.
ZANIS reports that Mr Mutale said this when he inspected the school to ascertain how the pupils are faring.
Mr Mutale noted that there was urgent need for the Zambia Statistics Agency to expedite the handing over of mattresses which were used during the 2022 Census of Population and Housing.
“The district is in possession of 140 mattresses which were used during the census exercise last year which are earmarked to be distributed to public institutions. We are making follow ups to ensure the mattresses are handed over within the shortest possible time. I am hopeful that this will cushion the shortage of mattresses at Milenge Secondary School,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutale disclosed that five people in the school community have tested positive to Covid-19 in the past one week hence it is essential that precautionary measures are put in place to safeguard the health of learners.
He added that the idea of pupils sharing bed spaces is unhygienic and not safe.
“Some pupils are forced to sleep on bankers without mattresses. We will do our best to ensure we improve the boarding facilities for our learners,” he said.
He stated that the free education policy and the Secondary School bursaries under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) have led to an increase in the enrollment rates in schools.
“This is just the beginning of term one and the school already has 220 boarders against 109 mattresses. The number of boarders last academic year was 464 hence we anticipate more pupils to report to school. We need to act fast,” he said.